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Tolkien, the Eucatastrophe, and fighting the Long Defeat in the face of tragedy

— Gee Rennison, Postgraduate student, University of Glasgow

Paper given 3 September 2021 at 2nd day of Oxonmoot 2021

The existence of grief underpins many key chapters in The Silmarillion. This paper examines the multifaceted way Tolkien includes grief, from its part within the creation story of the Ainulindale and the role of Nienna, through the lens of the eucatastrophe — the sudden happy turn in a story which pierces you with a joy’, and the long defeat’. Grief is found to be part of creation, a healer, and punishment within The Silmarillion. Most importantly it is almost wholly synonymous with beauty and strength. Through the interweaving of Tolkien’s fictional writing and his own neologism of the eucatastrophe’ I examine the lessons of strength we can learn, especially during times of great upheaval such as now. To learn through Grief is to better yourself — as taught through Nienna. To not submit to it and to let beauty arise out of it is key, allowing us to combat the long defeat’ in our daily lives. What can be learnt in grief and the eucatastrophe, we can translate to our own experience.

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date recorded 📅2021-09-02
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